What do you mean, “No more sweet potatos?”
I’ve been writing a post in my head all weekend about how hard being a working mother is, but I was too busy taking care of Ava and billing while she slept to write it. So instead I bring you an easier post about our new house!
This house is much smaller than our old house, but it’s a better fit for a number of reasons. First, in our old house Ava’s nursery was on the first floor and our bedroom was on the second floor. In this house, Ava’s nursery and our bedroom are on the first floor and Ava’s nursery is a little nook attached to the bedroom. There are two bedrooms upstairs, one of which she can move into when she’s older. Second, the laundry area is off the kitchen so I can do laundry whenever I want. At the old house the laundry area was near the living room, which made it hard to watch television while doing laundry. Third, the kitchen is big enough that I can finally use all of my dishes and two people can be in it at the same time without bumping into each other. I can’t show you pictures of the kitchen yet, though, because I’m still rearranging things. But the dining room is ready!
We had that table custom made for our old house. I’m so glad it looks good here. The nice thing about Salt Lake City is that many of the houses are bungalows so your furniture will look good in a significant portion of the houses. On to the living room!
Behind the chairs in the picture above is a bookshelf. During the move, we filled my car four times with books, DVDs, and music, among other things, and we still have more than this bookshelf can hold. Thank goodness for ebooks, though, or else our basement would be overflowing. Can you spot Audrey’s cremation box?
The master bedroom is much smaller, but I think it’s pretty charming. We will be painting it a light blue soon since it’s a bit bright.
The birds have their own room, which is great for me because it was so hard to juggle a baby waking up every few hours and Stonewall singing if you made too much noise. We’ve been making an effort to get the birds used to their room so they can be let out of their cages. Trevor prefers to fly around and create general chaos so he can’t be out unsupervised.
Ava is changing in so many different ways, for her five-month summary I wanted to break it down by category.
- Ava can sit up for longer periods of time. It used to be that she would slump over or even fall forward and have her head in a pillow if she wasn’t supported. Now she can sit as long as she wants to, although if she’s in a chair, I have to strap her in because she will try to roll in the chair.
- She can roll from her stomach to her back, and is just a shoulder away from being able to roll from her back to her stomach.
- Ava is much much better about sitting by herself for a few minutes. This is fantastic because I really prefer going to the bathroom alone. It also means I can clean up the kitchen in less than half the time because I can do it with two hands! Last weekend she let me spend 40 minutes straight trying to prepare food.
- Ava likes to feel textures by taking her nails and grazing the edges of a surface. When she does it in her stroller you can hear the skritch skritch skritch of her exploring. When she does it on your arm you can feel how long it’s been since I clipped her nails (less than a week, thank you very much). Last night she was trying to do it to the bedsheets at 2:30 a.m. while I was nursing. Not cool, baby.
Foods and Liquids
- Ava loves eating solids. Her favorite food hands down is yogurt with rice cereal, the thicker the better. (I didn’t do a single thing to retouch this photo by the way. She has the most spectacular eyes.)
- She also loves her carrot and zucchini mixture, she sometimes loves her broccoli and spinach mixture, she likes avocado, and she eats lentils without objection. Next up, sweet potatoes!
- She’s also much better about knowing how to eat. She opens her mouth when the spoon is close and she swallows. At the beginning she just let you keep putting food in her mouth but didn’t swallow. Then she would blow raspberries and it would all come out. I’ve done a lot more laundry this month.
- I don’t know if she’s better about drinking formula because she has more variety in her diet or if it’s her Comomoto bottles, but it’s much easier to get her to drink the formula. I think she’s drinking a little less of it now that she eats solids. But overall she’s eating a lot more food. In the morning she eats two ounces of yogurt, one ounce of a vegetable, an ounce of formula, and probably two ounces from me. During the day she drinks 12-15 ounces of breast milk and formula and at least three ounces of solids. At 6 pm she gets another two ounces of yogurt, and an ounce of veggies. At 8 pm she gets about four ounces of breast milk and formula. Overnight she wakes up 2-3 times and drinks only breast milk (I’ve tried formula to keep her full but she gets pissed if you try to sneak it in) and that probably amounts to 10 ounces. In total, she’s getting a minimum of 29 ounces of breast milk and formula and nine ounces of solids.
- This past month Ava transitioned from co-sleeping all night to sleeping in her crib from 8:30 until 5 or 6. At first it was amazing and she only got up twice during the night. Now she’s getting up three times and it’s still better than cosleeping, but I’m back to being tired again. although not nearly as tired as I was when she only slept in two-hour blocks.
- Ava is really finding her voice. In addition to crying and a droning noise that she’s been making for several months to indicate that she’s fine but not thrilled, she can shriek loudly to show massive disapproval.
- She’s also laughing more frequently at more things. While she’s been able to make raspberry noises for several months, she’s now creating a repertoire of noises. And she just started sticking out her tongue so I expect that will lead to even more new sounds.
What I Already Miss Because My Baby Is Almost an Adult
- Ava used to sleep on me by tucking her feet up under her stomach and resting them on my chest with her head on my shoulder. Now she’s way too big.
- I could put Ava’s head in the crook of my elbow and hold her with just one arm. That’s not even remotely possible now. How was she ever this tiny?
- She no longer makes the deep sighing noise when she sleeps.
- I don’t miss this, but I want to remember how cracked her lips got in the first couple weeks because she nursed, and nursed, and nursed. I couldn’t make enough milk but you’re supposed to show the body that there is a demand for the milk, so we’d spent hours fruitlessly trying to get blood from a stone.
- Also, the first time my milk came in I thought I might have found a lump and I was going to die of breast cancer. But really, if you don’t know what’s happening, it’s a very weird feeling to suddenly have a hard portion.
I was changing Ava’s clothing this weekend when she started doing this:
She’s trying to roll! Ava has been working on her abs lately by lifting her legs up into the air.
The next step was to then twist onto her side, like the first picture. Now she tries to roll all the time. When I leave her in one spot in her crib, she’s often moved 90 degrees when I get back again.
I’m fascinated by the process. Ava has such a great personality, we watched her spend 10 minutes trying to roll before she got frustrated. I hope she stays determined like that. When I used to swaddle her, Jon would cheer her on as she broke through the swaddle. Instead of getting mad, she worked through the situation.
When I go in to check on Ava at night she’s frequently on her side as if she’s practicing rolling in her sleep. When I transitions Ava to the crib, I took the little bed that she used to use for cosleeping and it put inside the crib. If I tried to simply put in her in the crib, she would kick at the mattress with her legs and cry. Now that she’s trying to roll, I’ve taken the little bed out. The little bed has thick borders and I don’t want her to roll on her stomach and land on the borders. It was hard to get her to sleep for the first few nights outside the little bed, but I think she’s used to it now.
Ava is such a fun baby these days. She’s so happy and I think a lot of it is due to her consistent schedule. Her naps used to be pretty unpredictable, but she now naps at the same times every day. She gets up at 8am, takes a nap in her stroller at 10:55 am until 11:25, takes another nap anytime between noon and 2pm, and goes to bed starting at 7:30pm. She is amazingly happy after a nap, even if it’s only for 30 minutes.
I used to track Ava’s sleep because I was trying to figure out how to make her sleep longer. The really interesting thing is that her bedtime used to be 10:30pm. There was a point where we jumped back her bedtime an hour and then Ava would indicate that she needed an earlier bedtime so we would move it back in 15 minute increments. Ava let us know about the earlier bedtime by crying inconsolably. The baby books disagree on a lot, but they all agree that when a baby reaches the inconsolable crying stage, the baby is overtired and should have been in bed before that point. Right now I have to start the bedtime routine by 7:30pm. I used to really anguish over whether her bedtime was too late, but that is silly because this baby will let you know what she wants.
In grand changes, we just moved and now that the new bedroom is attached to a nursery, it’s possible to put Ava in a crib at night. In the old house our bedroom was on the second floor and Ava’s nursery was on the first floor. I kept imagining Ava getting out of the crib and walking into traffic. In the new house, not only is the nursery attached to our bedroom, but the two other bedrooms are upstairs and you have to walk up creaky stairs. No teenager will sneak out of this house at night!
Putting Ava in the crib has been great the most recent five nights. It was a rocky start and I think the difference is that she needs to be placed in the bed we used to use for cosleeping inside the crib and she needs to be put down after she falls asleep. I know I’m supposed to put her to bed awake but sleepy, but that made her cry. There was one night where I let her cry for ten minutes, consoled her, and repeated the process two more times. She cried immediately after being put in the crib, and that was it, I was done. She had tears streaming down her face and I was not going to continue to let her cry. We put her in our bed next to us and she looked back and forth at us, so happy that we were all together. I felt like the worst person in the world because all she wants is to sleep next to her parents.
If I put her down asleep, she sleeps for 4-5 hour blocks. For example, two nights ago she slept in the crib from 7:45-2 and 2:30-5:30 (last night was a bit of an anomaly, hopefully because she had a third nap from 5-6 pm). If she’s in bed with us, she used to sleep for three or four hours, and then every 1-2 hours until 8. That was really hard. Most nights, she only wakes up twice. The literature says that this won’t work in a few months because she’ll expect me to be there when she wakes up, but maybe by then she’ll be used to the crib.
And because no post would be complete without a list of Ava’s changes:
- I no longer swaddle Ava at night. She’s too good at breaking out of the swaddle and I noticed that she was starting to sleep as well with her arms free as when she was locked in, so I got rid of it. To keep her sufficiently warm, I put her in these great pajamas. They’re very dapper.
At Ava’s four-month wellness checkup, the doctor said she could start eating solids. I wasted no time in giving her food.
It’s a success so far! She’s already eaten yogurt; avocado; a mix of spinach, avocado, and broccoli; and a mix of carrot and zucchini. She gets so excited when she sees the food that she starts kicking her legs in excitement.
A funny story, Ava has been really interested in adult food for awhile. She sits on my lap during dinner and she’ll often grab my plate while I’m eating. Well last week her nanny saw Ava eyeing her banana. So V. broke off a piece, mashed it up, and Ava happily ate the whole thing. My hungry baby!
So far the solids aren’t replacing the formula. Instead she’s eating more of everything. We’re wondering if she was getting bored of just breast milk and formula. It’s a good thing that they had changed the recommendations for starting solid food from six months to four months!
- she has a new high-pitched shriek that is adorable
- I made Ava laugh by holding her up above my head
- Ava hasn’t slept more than three hours in a row for weeks. I guess this is the four-month sleep regression they talk about? We’re going to try transitioning her to a crib next week and I really really hope it makes her sleep longer.
- Ava makes raspberries all the time. She’s even made them in the middle of the night while I’m trying to feed her, which is both adorable and not cool, baby.
- I was reading this new fantastic blog where the author was talking about putting her young baby in the Bob Revolution stroller without the carseat. I had assumed that babies had to be much larger before they could use that part, but it turns out they can use it after 8 weeks. Ava is thrilled with the change. She can see so much more now and she has so much more room! Although at first, she was pretty confused by the change.
What is this?
Ava turned four months old last Thursday. She had a wellness checkup and she is 85% for weight and height! She’s 25.5 inches long. Ava fits into six-month onsies and 9-12 month pants. It’s pretty funny when she wears a one-piece with pants because the arms will be normal and the pants will look like capris.
Ava has been making great strides with her motor skills. She can hold things for longer and she reaches for objects on her play gym.
She’s also much better at sitting up with a little assistance. She used to immediately slump over when you propped her up but now she stays up longer and gets mad if you put her in a reclined position. Ava is developing excellent leg strength. She pushes up on her feet while in a standing position (heavily assisted), does leg lifts, and can put her whole body up with her feet. Checkout how high her butt is off the ground! Also, checkout how much she loves her daddy.
Updated to add: Jon reminded me of another interesting development. Jon and I were watching a show (with Ava facing away from the screen) and Jon laughed really loudly at a joke. Ava jumped, which she’s been doing a lot lately, and then she cried for several minutes. I think it’s really interesting because it’s the first time she’s cried for something other than being hungry, having a wet diaper, being in pain, or not getting her way (i.e. crying when she wants to be outside, has been in the crib for too long, etc.).
Ava had two really big milestones this week. First, her neck is incredibly strong. Before when you propped her up to sit she could hold her head up but it was very wobbly. She was steadily gaining neck strength and then one day she started pitching forward when I would hold her. And from then on, her neck was no longer wobbly.
Jon and I been taking nightly walks with Ava and Teddy Roosevelt. I carry Ava in the baby Bjorn and Jon holds Teddy’s leash. I switched Ava to be outward facing in the baby Bjorn for a short walk one day last week. The next day I had her facing my chest and she complained because she knew how much better the view can be. Every since then she’s been outward facing and she loves it. When she gets tired she leans against my chest. I can watch her looking up at all the trees and it’s very fun.
This isn’t a milestone yet, but Ava will soon be able to roll over. She wants to be sitting upright and if you lay her down she tries roll over. If you put her at an angle, she wriggles out of it. I call this her inchworm routine because she will contort her body to slide down the pillows:
The second milestone is that Ava can have full blown laughter. Last week Jon could make her laugh a little. Now he can make her laugh a lot. She thinks he’s hilarious. He dances and makes her move to songs and she loves it.
For the past two days I’ve had trouble getting her to nurse because she’ll stop eating to laugh at me. But only when she’s nursing on the right side. I think she’s mocking that side. It looks pretty funny to see her grinning with milk dripping off her chin.
It’s funny how the most common question that I get asked after how Ava is doing is how I’m doing with being a working mom. People assume that I’m going to feel bad for leaving Ava while I go to work. I’m sure a lot of people would judge me for not having cried the day I went back to work but by then I knew that Ava would be fine without me. She has a fantastic nanny that adores her. I did cry the day before I went to work; is that enough suffering?
How can you leave me?
Here’s the thing: parenting is hard. After a full weekend of parenting, I look forward to going to work where my thoughts aren’t consumed by formula, breast milk, pooping, etc. If I stayed at home with Ava all day every day, I might be impatient and I might get frustrated with her. Right now I’m in a nice position where I’m never mad at Ava. I might be frustrated by a situation, such as when she won’t sleep at night, but I blame the situation not the baby.
After I finish work, I’m really excited to get home to my baby. The only thing I think will be hard is when she hits milestones without me. About a month ago, the nanny told me that Ava had been laughing and I though I had missed her first laugh. Fortunately, we had a different definition of laughter. Ava has been making little “heh, heh” noises for a month. Two nights ago she laughed for the first time because Jon fake coughed at her. You see, about a month ago Ava started making fake coughing noises. When you fake coughed back at her she would smile and sometimes make the “heh, heh” noise. But two nights ago she made true sounds of laughter. It was just as wonderful as I had expected. Happy babies are the best.
In other news, I’m down 50 pounds since Ava was born. I have only a few pounds left to lose to be at pre-pregnancy weight, but I was too heavy at that point so I’d still like to lose 30 more pounds. It’s all good for now, though, because I can fit into a nice selection of clothing.
I mentioned in my previous post that Ava is growing too big to comfortably sleep on top of me in the mornings. Well, I’m writing this post at 7:48 am on a Saturday because Ava could never find a position on me that she liked. I really hope this is temporary. I was already going to be tired because after 3:30 a.m. I was only asleep for one hour because of insomnia. There’s nothing more frustrating than not being able to sleep due to stress when your infant is sleeping next to you. I could understand if she kept me awake, but it is unacceptable for my brain to keep me awake.
What is this fist bump that you keep talking about?
Ava has also decided that she doesn’t want to drink formula anymore. The nanny thinks it’s because she wants to be sitting up and not in any position less than 90 degrees. I suspect she’s tired of the formula. I tricked her into drinking two ounces last night by making her think it was breast milk. I switched from nursing to the formula while she was very sleepy. I don’t know what I’m going to do today since she usually drinks about 8 ounces of formula. She already caught on to my trick later that night when I tried to give her more formula. I have different bottle nipples arriving today; maybe one of them will help.
The doctor said that she can start solids after four months. I would love if I could replace the formula with solids and still nurse. That would be perfect because then Ava could get only things she liked. It’s hard being limited to only giving her breast milk or formula. We’ve tried many different kinds of formula and she disliked them all with varying degrees.
Ava slept so much better last night, which let me sleep as well! It’s amazing how much easier it is to manage life when you’ve had enough sleep. Onto the updates!
I’m trying to give Ava a lot of tummy time to increase her neck strength. Once her neck is strong enough she can go in a bouncer. That needs to happen as soon as possible because she’s getting way too big for the swing. The best way to practice tummy time is to put her in a nursing pillow. She starts off elevated so it’s easier to push off. When we practiced tummy time on a flat surface, she’d get frustrated after a minute.
frilly butt for posterity
Ava can grasp objects for several minutes. This is a prime opportunity for me to pose her. I call this one “Prison baby asks for more gruel.”
Ava babbles all the time now. She also learned two nights ago to blow raspberries. She’s been giving Jon enormous smiles when she sees him for awhile. Now I get the same honor. I love it!